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For All I Care: Episode 2

Episode 2: Distant Touch

Can we create a new language of touch to help us comfort and care?

In these hug-starved times, can we care without touch?

In this episode we think about what touch means, tune in to our surroundings and listen in order to be touched by sound.

Writer and academic Elizabeth-Jane Burnett discusses healing by connecting to place through touch as she reads from her work The Grassling, and new work in progress The Living Light about moss.

Dancer, choreographer and researcher Vera Tussing talks to social neuroscientist Michael Banissy about how we can have more open conversations about touch and about the complex and deeply personal responses we have to touch, touch and social bonds, wellbeing and connection.

Tune into your skin with artist and programmer Claire Tolan through ASMR or autonomous sensory Meridian response, which describes a physiological tingling sensation that can be generated by soft sounds. We’ll explore the tactile and emotional resonances of sounds that can help us feel the presence of others and tune in to our immediate surroundings.

A BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Wellcome Collection collaboration. Presented by Nwando Ebizie. Music by Nkisi. Sound by Axel Kacoutié. A Reduced Listening Production, produced by Katherine Godfrey and exec produced by Alannah Chance.

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett's The Grassling is published by Penguin and The Living Light is a work-in-progress. Her poetry collection Of Sea is out in 2021.

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Episode 2 Show Notes

Experience empathetic, imagined touch, as Vera Tussing examines how we are connected even when separated by distance, time or context, in performance project T-Dance.

Poet, academic and curator of ecopoetic exhibitions, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett tells a powerful story of how the land shapes us and speaks to us in The Grassling.

Touched by the softness and slowness of Claire Tolan’s sounds, delve deeper into the world of ASMR with ArkDes’s exhibition, WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD.

Award winning broadcaster Claudia Hammond, is joined by creatives and academics, including Professor Michael Banissy, in the Wellcome Collection commissioned, BBC Radio 4’s The Touch Test, which is the world’s largest study on attitudes to touch.

Join Revoluton Arts and Wellcome Collection co-commissioned award-winning playwright and actor, Sudha Bhuchar, to explore the theme of touch with people in Bury Park through arts and creativity, in their seven part podcast series, The Touchstone Tales.

Consider why we need a daily dose of touch, and explore this most important of sensations role, in providing security and wellbeing through all stages of life, in Tiffany Field’s second edition of Touch.


Michael Banissy is a Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, where he is also Head of the School of Professional Services, Science and Technology. He has contributed to several research areas, including social perception, touch, creativity, and empathy. The breadth of his work is not only seen in scientific contributions, but also in his engagement to bring science to the public and industry. His work across these domains has led to him receiving several prizes for outstanding contributions to psychological research, including awards from the British Psychological Society, the Royal Society, and the British Academy. His most recent science communication project was the Touch Test - a research and broadcast collaboration with BBC Radio 4 and Wellcome Collection exploring attitudes towards and experiences of touch in the modern-day.

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett is an author and academic. The poetry collection Swims (2017) was a Sunday Times Poetry Book of the Year, highly commended in the Forward Prize and longlisted for the Laurel Prize - the best collection of environmental poetry to highlight the climate crisis. The forthcoming poetry collection Of Sea (2021) explores coastal invertebrates and the nature writing memoir The Grassling: A Geological Memoir (2019) examines soil and belonging and was a Penguin Random House WriteNow winner. Her monograph A Social Biography of Contemporary Innovative Poetry Communities: The Gift, the Wager and Poethics (2017) explores recent poetry communities and she is a British Council/National Centre for Writing International Literature Showcase winner (2020), described by Owen Sheers as one of ten writers ‘shaping the future.’ She is currently leading the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust small grant project, Creative Writing and Climate Change: Moss, Wetlands and Women and is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Northumbria University. Writing BA and collaboratively designed a popular module on environmental writing with students.

Claire Tolan is an American artist and programmer living in Berlin. Since 2013, much of her work has emerged from the sounds of ASMR. Between 2014 and 2019, Tolan hosted You’re Worth It, the ASMR show on Berlin Community Radio. She has collaborated on many recording and performance projects with artists such as Holly Herndon, Inger Wold Lund, Hanne Lippard, Camilla Steinum, and Susan Ploetz.

Vera Tussing’s creative processes, performances and installations are driven by her interests in dance, movement, perception, the senses, embodied experience, multisensorial spectatorship, collectivity and consent. Her most recent series of work, the Tactile Cycle, is formed of stage creations, sculptures and movement-sound installations focussed around the creation of unique, inter-personal encounters between audience and performer. She graduated from London Contemporary Dance School, and has worked as a dancer, director and creator throughout the UK, Belgium and across Europe.